At Purebreds Plus Cat Rescue (PPCR), the number of cats we save depends heavily on the number of foster homes we have available. Right now, we are lucky to have enough foster homes for kittens, but what we really need are more foster moms (or dads) willing to care for healthy adult cats in a home environment. We call the responsibilities of a foster “The CATNIP Promise.” That promise encompasses what every rescue kitty needs most from a foster family:
Commitment. A foster family should expect to care for a cat from intake to adoption. Every cat we receive has experienced the shock of sudden homelessness. In rescue, we strive for continuity of care whenever possible. People who travel frequently, on business or for pleasure, are not good candidates for fostering.
Accommodations. Suitable accommodations for a foster cat include a small private space to occupy for the first week or two before having access to a larger area. Then we want the foster space to be at least a room or, at best, access to the rest of the house–including the company of other cats if the foster cat’s temperament allows.
Time. We want each cat to live in a home-like atmosphere while in foster care, and this idea implies that you, as the foster parent, spend a significant amount of time in the presence of your foster cat. We do not ask you to play with the cat for hours on end, but you must be present often enough, and for long enough, that the cat feels he or she is living with someone. A person who works from a home office can be a wonderful foster, but so can a person who works away from home full-time, as long as he or she is present in the evenings, as a permanent owner would be. In addition, you will need to spend quite a bit of time observing the cat in order to understand its needs and eventually share that information with prospective adopters.
Non-attachment. An important part of fostering is being ready to say goodbye when the time is right. Remember that the goal is to find the perfect home for every cat. You should not expect to adopt every cat you foster, and sometimes a cat needs to move from one foster home to another, for logistical reasons. If you think you are the only person who can help a cat, be careful: that way hoarding lies.
Intuition. A foster has to be able to “read” the cat and also the prospective adopters, to have the best chance at finding each cat a safe, loving, permanent home.
Patience. Even a healthy cat will need time to overcome the initial shock of losing a home and being in a new place. It might take a foster cat days to let you approach and weeks to crawl into your lap. If you can’t wait, then fostering is not for you. After the initial adjustment, not every cat is placed immediately, and not every applicant is suitable for a given cat. A foster mom or dad has to be willing to review applications carefully, screen applicants, and let the cat go home only when the right match is found for the cat.
Can you make the CATNIP promise? If so, please let us hear from you. Fill out out Volunteer Application.